While it's becoming increasingly clear that the US and China aren't trying to work out a "deal" on trade like Larry Kudlow and other members of the Trump administration have suggested - only to meet with denials from the Chinese - the White House isn't letting up on the pressure, Reuters reported.
To wit, the Trump administration has banned American companies from selling components to Chinese telecom-equipment manufacturer Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) Corp. after accusing the company of lying during a settlement negotiation, according to Bloomberg.
Specifically, the Department of Commerce determined that ZTE had made false statements to the Bureau of Industry and Security during 2016 settlement negotiations and during its 2017 probationary period.
The company pleaded guilty last year in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate US sanctions by illegally shipping US goods and technology to Iran.
ZTE paid nearly $900 million in fines and penalties, and an additional $300 million that could be imposed in the future.
The company had promised, as part of the settlement, to fire four senior employees and punish 35 others by either reducing bonuses or reprimanding them, Commerce Department officials told Reuters.
But the company admitted that, as of March, it had fired the four senior employees, but had not disciplined the 35 more-junior employees.
The punishment comes shortly after Trump blocked Broadcom's takeover of Qualcomm on national security grounds. The US is fighting to safeguard its technology as companies build the country's 5G data network. Treasury Department officials had expressed concerns about Qualcomm's technology falling into Chinese hands.
Shares of several ZTE customers, including Acadia and Oclaro, saw their shares plunge 15% and 25%, respectively, in early trade after the open.